Point Solutions vs. Integrated Platforms for Chronic Diseases

Aligning member health goals with digital solutions.

4 min read
Kaia Health Solutions

Thriving on pharma industry ties and increasing venture capital interest, the digital therapeutics (DTx) industry has experienced substantial and sustained growth. While the impacts of the current climate have yet to be assessed, industry experts have forecast that the chronic disease segment will play a major role in driving the global digital therapeutics market valuation into 2027.

On the other side of the ecosystem, continued increases in employer healthcare costs are driving the DTx market, with average costs projected to rise 5% in 2020 to more than $15,000 per employee. Self-insured employers are looking to health plans to help them achieve financial goals while boosting employee health and retention. In turn, health plans see the promise of digital therapeutics and are adopting related solutions to meet employer and group health demands.

With added choice comes an increasingly common dilemma faced by healthcare plans today: choose stand-alone point solutions or an integrated solution. Which DTx approach is right for your team? Read on to dig deeper into what makes a good fit and look at some major industry trends that may impact your choice.

Best-in-class DTx point solutions offer

  • A highly personalized experience focused on a particular condition or disease.
  • The ability for health plans to target specific business lines and the costliest conditions with a single DTx, making it easier to achieve certain disease-state goals.

Integrated DTx solutions provide

  • A unified experience for members, which includes more personalized and coordinated touchpoints. These are often delivered via a digital health platform that aggregates point solutions that best align with individual member goals.
  • Support for the whole person across the continuum of care, resulting in a potentially greater value for health plans and their members.

Integrated health plans often choose a mix of point and integrated solutions; however, the trend is gradually moving away from highly specialized, non-integrative point solutions to multi-disease DTx solutions and delivery platforms.

Ultimately, the right choice is based upon where a DTx solution fits strategically within its plan offerings for the greatest enrolled population benefit, maximizing engagement and delivering measurable results.

Point solution fatigue and the trend toward integration

The longer-term trend toward integrated DTx solutions stems from the fact that health plans are faced with a highly competitive DTx landscape that is oversaturated with point solutions. These focused solutions typically address only a small subset of an overall member population and lack integration capability with other DTx solutions and platforms. Today, it is not unusual for employers to have as many as 5 to 10 different non-integrative point solutions or apps in an employee health program to address various patient needs – leading to point solution fatigue.

Let’s look at chronic diseases, which are among the most prevalent and costly health conditions in the United States and make up a major portion of the total healthcare spend. Musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders, for example, have a high prevalence and are a top cost driver. In a recent survey, 44% of employers ranked MSK disorders as the top condition impacting their costs while 85% ranked it among the top three conditions. MSK disorders, therefore, represent an ideal target for a point solution DTx.

That said, chronic conditions rarely present as a single problem and may require related DTx therapies to be close at hand. Chronic pain, for example, may be associated with depression, stress and anxiety. As the market matures, the DTx industry must move toward integrative single-point solutions, integrated solutions, and broader platform offerings in order to best serve health plans and their enrolled member population.

Looking into the crystal ball for health plans

It is increasingly important that DTx companies seamlessly interface their solutions with existing chronic disease management programs. DTx solution providers are working to meet this challenge through partnerships that expand their offerings for a more holistic healthcare experience and by integrating offerings with provider-facing chronic disease management programs. This strategically aligns with the increased emphasis on value-based care and patient-centered care driving the overall adoption of DTx, helping to match patients with the most efficient and appropriate care.

Although point solutions will continue to play a significant role in health plan offerings in the near term, the DTx partnership and consolidation push toward delivering integrated solutions offers a strong competitive benefit. This will enable payers to offer a broader range of clinical programs as consolidated platform solutions to support chronic disease management in areas that will have the most impact. This includes conditions such as diabetes, COPD, and MSK health along with behavioral health. As we turn the corner, look for this platform consolidation trend to be combined with integration across healthcare delivery channels, including the integration of DTx with telemedicine and precision prescription providers.

To learn more about making DTx solutions work for your population in the current climate, schedule an introductory call with our team. Our solutions tackle top cost drivers such as musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and COPD with a blend of expert medical knowledge and evidence-based techniques that deliver measurable results, create value and boost engagement.

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